On Tuesday, May 19th, the iPad mini arrives in the Arizona Scottsdale Mission!
After many unofficial promises that “they are coming by the end of the year” (first 2013 and then 2014). the official email arrived last week scheduling a visit to train all of the mission on iPad use on Tuesday, May 19th. Coming to the mission will be Elder David F. Evans of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department.
Missionaries who depart the mission before November 19th (six months after introduction) will NOT buy the iPads, but will use loaner iPads until they depart. There is NOT an option to buy them for these missionaries.
All other missionaries will buy the iPads through their local stakes. The stake president, in consultation with the Bishop will determine the financial capability of the families to purchase the devices and will use other means including donations by others in the stake to cover the cost. No family is expected to bear the cost of the iPad if such a purchase would inappropriately burden them.
Missionaries receive training to use the iPads in several phases. The first phase is iPad safety. Safety includes safeguards to prevent missionaries from using the iPad device to access sites that are not appropriate. Each missionary is expected to be converted to the doctrine that “The only effective filter is the individual heart and desire of a son or daughter of God. That is why we ask you (as mission president and companion – and as parents) to help them learn now, while they are in a spiritual environment and under your care, how to choose righteously for the Lord and not be acted upon by unworthy influences.” (David F. Evans, To Labor for the Salvation of the Souls of Men). Companions will also watch out for each others safety. Spot check audits will be performed by mission staff on an as-needed basis.
We are clearly expecting – and ask parents to prepare your missionary sons and daughters – to responsibly use technology BEFORE they come to the field. Here is some additional counsel from Elder Evans:
“….We must help this generation of young people learn to use technology for righteous purposes now and thoughout their lives….We believe that the mission field is the ideal time for learning to use these tools appropriately and for developing lifelong righteous digital habits, and even overcoming past unworthy behavior.
We must not be fearful of the Internet or technology. Rather, we must, together, learn how to use these remarkable tools for the purposes for which the Lord provided them.” (David F. Evans, To Labor for the Salvation of the Souls of Men)
Later phases will include using the iPads for proselyting – primarily through local members and through facebook. Each missionary is encouraged to have a facebook page before they come into the mission field. We will help them modify it after they arrive so that it can be used for proselyting.
We WELCOME this technology! We are 100% behind the Brethren who see a mission as a time to become converted to it’s proper use so that these Elders and Sisters return home fully converted and capable of using technology safely throughout their lives.
President and Sister Sweeney